Scott & Zoe—Getty Images
By Samantha Cooney
August 23, 2016

Four mothers who lost their children came together to call on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to make paid parental leave a priority.

Amber Scorah, Ali Dodd, Kathryn Martin and Adrienne Kromer all had infants who died in daycare facilities, where they’d placed the children after the women were asked to return to work after giving birth. On Monday, the women delivered a petition, which garnered over 135,000 signatures on, on Monday to both Clinton and Trump’s campaign offices, asking the presidential candidates to act on parental leave within their first 100 days in office. The U.S. lacks a federal parental leave policy, and only 12% of workers in the private sector have access to paid family leave.

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“Neither of us wanted to leave our babies when we did, at mere weeks old, not yet,” Scorah and Dodd wrote in their petition. “But neither of us had the luxury of choice. Our respective employers would not grant us any more time for parental leave, and we couldn’t afford to quit our jobs.”

“No parent should have to choose between leaving their baby too soon and making ends meet,” they added.

The women told Refinery29 that they were able to meet with staffers from the Clinton campaign, which has already pledged to guarantee 12 weeks of paid family or medical leave to all U.S. employees.

The women said they were unable to meet with Trump campaign staffers, though someone did come down to receive their petition. Trump has not unveiled a formal parental leave policy.

“[Trump] better get himself on record, because every family in America is waiting to hear,” Dodd, who says she’s a Republican, told Refinery29.

Even in countries with federal parental leave policies, working mothers face a litany of challenges.

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A report released on Monday by advocacy group Citizens Advice shows that mothers in the U.K., where the federal government promises up to 37 weeks of paid maternity leave and 50 weeks of total time off, frequently face discrimination when choosing to take a maternity leave. The group said that women returning from maternity leave often have their hours reduced and their roles changed or made redundant.

“In some cases women are having their hours cut or even being moved onto zero hours contracts when they tell their employers they are pregnant,” Citizens Advice CEO Gillian Guy said in a statement to Fortune. “This can have a real impact on their income security as suddenly they don’t know what hours they will work or how they will be paid—the last thing they want when they are expecting a child.”


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